FOOD FOR THOUGHT/ What is . . . .

What is LOVE ...
strong affection for another; unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another such as brotherly concern for others

What is KINDNESS ...
the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate; treating people with kindness and respect

What is COMPASSION ...
sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others

What is EMPATHY ...
the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

What is GOODNESS ...
the quality of being good, in particular a belief in the basic goodness of mankind

What is DECENCY ...
behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability

What is GENEROSITY ...
the quality of being kind and unselfish

What is CARING ...
displaying kindness and concern for others

What is CHARACTER ...
the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; a person's good reputation

What is MORALITY ...
principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior; a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society

What is TRUTH ...
that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality

What is HONESTY ...
free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincerity

What are VALUES ...
a person's principles or standards of behavior; one's judgment of what is important in life

What are ETHICS ...
moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity

What is LAUGHTER ...
to show amusement or joy by smiling and chuckling

What is FUN ...
enjoyment, amusement or lighthearted pleasure

What is JOY ...
a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

What is WONDER ...
a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected or inexplicable

What is HAPPINESS ...
a state of well-being and contentment

What is HOPE ...
a feeling of expectation and desire for something good to happen

[Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

What is...

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For a long while it was 'Frozen' and now the best thing in the world among little girls are 'unicorns' while 'mermaids' are sneaking in on the scene. No one can resist the pastels in purple, teal, pink, yellow and green of unicorn designs. They are the rage in the baking world; cakes, cupcakes and cookies. So when the 9th birthday of my eldest grand niece arrived, she requested Unicorn Cupcakes to share with her third grade classmates. For our vanilla girl, it had to be that all-American flavor for her cupcakes.

Ok, I'm going to be honest here. I struggle decorating cupcakes; it's the piping. It looks so easy in the videos. Well, l need lots of practice. Although, I can assure you these cupcakes were made with love.

As with royal icing, the same rings true with buttercream frosting. It comes down to 'consistency' …. 'piping consistency.' When spreading frosting onto a cake or cupcake, it doesn't have to be so exact. It seems either the frosting is too stiff and it takes all my might to squeeze out the swirls like in these neon cupcakes or the frosting is too soft and the design droops a bit. The secret is in the amount of milk or cream and I have yet to find the right formula. One more thing, I've been using the whisk attachment which seems to whip too much air into the frosting causing air bubbles. Next time I will use the paddle attachment. So I guess that means more cupcakes are in my future. Good thing I have so many little taste-tasters! 

Vanilla Cake
2¼ cups Softasilk Cake Flour (or 2-1/8 cup Flour), sifted
1½ cups Sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
2/3 cup Crisco Shortening
1 cup Milk
1½ tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs

Mix Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt. Add Shortening.
Add a little over half of Milk to the dry ingredients. Add Vanilla.
Add remaining Milk and Eggs. Mix well.
Pour batter 1/2 full into 24 cupcake liners.
Bake 18-20 minutes at 400 until cake tester comes out clean.
[This is the Rich Golden Cake recipe from the 1950 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook]

Creamy Buttercream Frosting (large recipe)
2 cups Butter (4 sticks), softened
8 cups Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted
½ tsp Vanilla (optional)
1-4 tbsp Milk or Cream
Wilton Star Tip #1M
Wilton French Tip #199 

Beat butter for 4-5 minutes until pale and fluffy.
Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time beating well after each addition.
Add milk 1 Tbsp at a time until frosting is smooth.
Tip: When piping onto cupcakes do not add too much milk to maintain slightly stiff piping consistency.

Tip: To achieve pastel colors, place small amount of icing into small bowls. Add drop or two of gel coloring. The result will be a deep color. Gradually add colored icing to each batch of frosting until you reach desired pastel color.

Split frosting among 4 bowls.
Color Lavender with AmeriColor Electric Purple.
Color Mint Green with AmeriColor Teal.
Color Pale Pink with AmeriColor Super Red.
Color Soft Yellow with AmeriColor Lemon Yellow.

Layer colors and fill piping bag with all four colors.

Pipe large roses with petal tip #1M. Pipe ruffle with petal tip #1M.
Pipe posey with petal tip #1M. Pipe peaks with french tip #199.



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With the recent passing of former First Lady, Barbara ('Bar') Pierce Bush, her words of wisdom will inspire. This post contains excerpts from Mrs. Bush's Commencement Speech to Wellesley graduates, June 1, 1990.

Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you're talking about life -- and life really must have joy. It's supposed to be fun. Find the joy in life because as Ferris Bueller said on his day off, 'Life moves pretty fast and if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you're going to miss it.'

.... cherish your human connections, your relationships with family and friends. For several years you've had impressed upon you the importance to your career, of dedication and hard work. Of course, that's true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, a lawyer, a business leader will be, you are a human being first. And those human connections --- with spouses, with children, with family, with friends -- are the most important investments you will ever make.

…. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend, or a parent.

Graduation Cookies
Graduation Cap Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining and flooding tinted Dusty Pink with Wilton Brown and AmeriColor Super Red
Royal Icing for detail tinted Hot Pink with Wilton Brown, AmeriColor Super Red and AmeriColor Electric Pink
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Wilton Star Tip #18

Outline top of mortarboard with #2 tip in pink icing
Flood top of mortarboard with pink icing. Let sit 30 minutes.

Outline rest of cookie with #2 tip in pink icing
Flood rest of cookie with pink icing.

Pipe tassel of cap with #2 tip in pink icing. Let sit 15 minutes.
Pipe tassel of cap with #2 tip in hot pink icing.
Outline top of mortarboard with #2 tip in pink icing.

Pipe flowers on cap with star tip #18 in hot pink icing. 

Let dry overnight.


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